The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse describes constipation as having three or fewer bowel movements in a week or having dry, hard or difficult-to-pass stool. It also reports that most people, at one time or another, get constipated. Regular exercise and healthy eating are the main steps you can take to prevent and relieve constipation.
Aerobic exercise can prevent and relieve constipation, reports the Mayo Clinic. Aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, swimming or cycling, can help to stimulate intestinal function. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that you participate in aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes per day on most days of the week. In addition to helping to prevent constipation, regular aerobic exercise can help tp protect you against other chronic diseases.
Besides inactivity, stress is another contributing factor to constipation, according to the National Institutes of Health. Strength training exercises can be a way for you to combat stress and increase your health. Strength training exercises includes lifting weights, using resistance bands, or exercises that use your body weight as resistance, such as push-ups, pull-ups or sit-ups. The Mayo Clinic reports that any exercise can increase your fitness while decreasing your stress. Regular strength training can help you to relieve stress, which may help to prevent or alleviate constipation.
A 2009 report published in “Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care” found that while moderate-intensity exercise can have a protective effect on constipation and other digestive conditions, heavy and strenuous exercise may contribute to gastrointestinal distress. Also, the National Cancer Institute states that other methods of relieving constipation include eating high-fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. You also must drink plenty of liquids. If regular exercise and a healthy diet do not relieve or prevent your constipation, you should see your doctor for further help.
- The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: What I need to Know About Constipation
- The Mayo Clinic: Constipation Prevention
- "ACSM's Guideline for Exercise Testing and Prescription"; Walter R. Thompson, Ph.D., ed.; 2010
- National Institutes of Health: Medline Plus: Constipation
- The Mayo Clinic: Stress Management: Exercise and Stress
- exercising on the beach image by Galina Barskaya from Fotolia.com
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.